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Rediff.com  » Sports » Bid for FIFA presidency: Meet the men who could replace Blatter

Bid for FIFA presidency: Meet the men who could replace Blatter

October 27, 2015 11:24 IST

The race to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA is picking up steam and there is a scramble for nominations

Take a look at the men who are bidding for FIFA presidency

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino

IMAGE: UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino entered the race for FIFA president on Monday as Asian soccer chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain declared he had also put himself forward.

A surprise announcement from the European soccer authority that it was backing Infantino came ahead of the midnight CET deadline for candidates to register nominations for the presidency of world soccer's crisis-torn governing body. The FIFA election is scheduled to take place in Zurich on February 26.

FIFA is embroiled in the worst scandal of its 111-year history, the United States having indicted several FIFA officials for bribery, money laundering and wire fraud in May.

Swiss authorities are also investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

A multilingual lawyer, shaven-headed Infantino joined UEFA in 2000 and has been general secretary since 2009.

He has overseen the implementation of the complicated and controversial Financial Fair Play policy, a break-even rule which clubs are required to meet before they can take part in European competition.

Infantino said in a statement issued by UEFA that he was "humbled and honoured" to enter the race.

He said his manifesto would be "based on the need for ‎reform and also for a FIFA that genuinely serves the interests of all 209 national associations, big or small, and that puts football and football development at the top of its agenda.”

“If elected I would lead that change in partnership with all who want to see a FIFA worthy of governing the world's number one sport with dignity and respect.”

Michel Platini

UEFA president Michel Platini

IMAGE: UEFA president Michel Platini attends a press conference. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Earlier this month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, who had been favourite to succeed him, were suspended for 90 days pending a full investigation by FIFA's Ethics Committee.

Platini would not be able to be officially named a candidate while under suspension but FIFA has left the door ajar for him to run should he later win an appeal against his ban.

In the meantime, UEFA has opted to make sure they have a candidate in the race.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein

Jordanian Prince Ali bin al Hussein

IMAGE: Jordanian Prince Ali bin al Hussein gives a speech during the 65th FIFA Congress. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan formally submitted his candidature to be FIFA president pledging to restore the reputation of world soccer's scandal-ridden governing body.

"This time of crisis at FIFA is an opportunity for positive change," Prince Ali said in a statement. "Many good ideas have emerged in the current discussion over FIFA's future.

"A better future will only come if ideas turn into action -- and that will only happen if FIFA has the right leadership.

"I am confident that FIFA can emerge from this difficult period with its reputation restored and become an organisation that is once again viewed with respect."

Zico

FC Goa's co owner Virat Kohli, left, with Zico at a promotional event

IMAGE: FC Goa's co owner Virat Kohli, left, with Zico at a promotional event. Photograph: Reuben NV/Rediff.com

Former Brazil international Zico has been campaigning but has admitted he is struggling to get the backing of five FAs.

Tokyo Sexwale

On Saturday, South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale, a former Apartheid-era political prisoner turned businessman, announced he would stand. A spokesman confirmed Sexwale had the necessary five nominations.

Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid says he has submitted his papers to FIFA, along with former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.

Sheikh Salman

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement it had offered overwhelming support to Sheikh Salman who had assured it ‘that his campaign will be entirely self-financed’.

The Bahraini, closely allied to Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of the most powerful men in the Olympic movement, canvassed opinion from Asian associations last week.

Musa Bility

Liberia's Musa Bility has said he wants to run. His chances suffered a setback when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) refused to back him, but on Monday the BBC reported that he had the five nominations necessary to stand.

Chung Mong-Joon

Another candidate, South Korea's Chung Mong-Joon, pulled out of the race on Monday. A scion of South Korea's Hyundai industrial conglomerate, Chung was banned from the sport for six years by FIFA, after an investigation into the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

"Even though I can no longer stand for FIFA President, there is much left for me to do," Chung said. "I will continue to work with all those who love football to bring about legitimate changes from within FIFA."

Jerome Champagne and David Nakhid

FIFA presidential candidates Jerome Champagne and David Nakhid both declined to say which football associations (FAs) had backed them, saying the FAs themselves feared reprisals if they were named.

Both men said they had obtained the written backing of five FAs, the number required

for candidates to enter the race under FIFA electoral rules. But they said FAs were wary of lending their support and being identified.

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